I need to start by prefacing this article with an explanation. I am unashamed about being a carnivore. In fact, my body does not cope well with a vegetarian or vegan diet due to an inflammatory bowel disease. There are just too many of the things that a vegetarian or vegan diet relies upon that I just cannot digest. This is also why I abhor PETA and their push to make everyone vegan.
That said, I have to be honest about the fact that the way that agribusinesses treat their animals aggravates me. The fact that many animals are kept in inhumane conditions is unconscionable. Of course, I also understand that it is hard enough for many people to actually feel empathy for their fellow humans let alone for animals in the world.
Jane Velez-Mitchell, the openly lesbian HLN host and author, recently put together a wonderful editorial about breeding sows and how they are kept confined in “gestation crates”. As she explains:
A breeding sow spends most of her life in a tiny cage. It’s usually about seven feet long and two feet wide. She cannot turn around. She cannot scratch herself. She must urinate and defecate where she stands. Simply put, I believe she is tortured, day in and day out.
By “she” I mean the almost six million breeding pigs that as you read this, are stacked in giant warehouses unable to see the light of day. Each female pig is surrounded by thousands of other sows, screeching their wretchedness. It’s obscene. It’s shameful. It’s un-American. It gives me nightmares. Literally.
Let us be honest about it, though. The executives of these agribusinesses simply won’t care about their animals because, well, they don’t matter any more than, say, the people who have to live in proximity to those massive farms. The only way to get through to them is to discuss profits, and Jane does that too. She notes:
The alternative “group housing,” allows pigs greater freedom of movement. Iowa State University conducted a two-and-a-half year long economic analysis of the issue and found that that a group housing solution resulted in a weaned pig cost that was 11 percent less than the cost of a weaned pig from the individual stall confinement system.
In the end, our biggest problem as Americans is the lack of empathy for others. This leads us to mistreat not only our fellow humans, but the animals around us.